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House passes bill to lower import tariffs on manufacturers

Bloomberg Politics (4/27, Litvan) reports that by a 415-2 vote on Thursday, the House passed tariff bill H.R. 4923, which “would let companies ask the International Trade Commission to reduce or suspend tariffs on chemicals or other items that generally aren’t available in the U.S.”

The bill would replace a tax relief system that expired in 2012 and eliminate “higher taxes” that the NAM says have cost manufacturers $2.5 billion since that time. Businesses have “broadly backed” the measure, with the NAM and “more than 200 trade groups and manufacturers” signing a letter calling on lawmakers to act on “long overdue” tariff reforms. NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey said it would be “an important victory for manufacturers of all sizes in the U.S.” if the bill is enacted.

Although “the timing remains uncertain,” The Hill (4/27, Needham) reports the Senate is expected to pass the bipartisan legislation that “would overhaul the process for reducing or eliminating tariffs on imported inputs and products not available or in short supply domestically.” The Hill notes that on Tuesday, the NAM had “issued key-vote alerts” on the bill to let “lawmakers know they will be rating their records based on how they vote.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) commented, “By passing the bill we’re taking tremendous steps to ensure that we finally have a system in place that helps our manufacturers here in America compete in the global market and win.”

According to Bloomberg Government (4/28), leading up to the bill’s approval, “Manufacturers from an array of industries have said they need a new MTB to help them remain competitive,” since they have been paying duties on various products since the last MTB expired in 2012. The article notes that the NAM and other business groups “said they support the House bill and urged the Senate to move quickly on the measure.”

Politico Pro (4/28, Palmer, Subscription Publication) states that the NAM’s letter on Tuesday urged lawmakers to pass legislation by highlighting how since 2012, “manufacturers throughout the country have faced an annual $748 million tax increase on their inputs and the U.S. economy has suffered a $1.875 billion economic loss.” The bill, known as the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016, “is intended to break a logjam caused by the House Republican ban on earmarks that has prevented action on Miscellaneous Tariff Bill legislation in recent years.”

A second article in Politico Pro (4/28, Subscription Publication) states that “Manufacturers were jubilant” following the bill’s passage, with NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons saying “We applaud the House for putting this bill one step closer to the president’s desk.” However, the bill’s “supporters are also hoping for quick action,” including Timmons, who called on the Senate to approve the bill “without delay.”

Should NAM members want to read the full article for free, they may contact National Association of Manufacturers Account Manager Molly Fluet at mfluet@politico.com.

Timmons: Senate Must Follow House’s Lead, Pass Tariff Reforms Without Delay. In a press release by theNational Association of Manufacturers (4/28), NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons calls the House’s vote “an important step forward that brings us closer to providing manufacturers across America with much-needed relief from unnecessary border taxes.” Timmons says delaying these reforms have put manufacturers “at a major disadvantage compared to global competitors,” but “manufacturers have been raising our voice, and leaders in Congress are now listening.” Timmons says manufacturers now “urge the Senate to follow suit without delay, empowering us to support innovation, opportunity and jobs here at home.”

Four US Representatives: Revamped MTB Will Make Our Manufacturers Competitive, Help Our Economy. US Representatives Tom McClintock (R-CA), Mark Walker (R-NC), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) write on the Fox News (4/27) website that the H.R. 4923 addresses previous concerns with the historic Miscellaneous Tariff Bill process, issues that have prevented its approval since 2010, costing the US manufacturers $748 million in taxes and the US economy $1.875 billion in potential gains, according the NAM.

Consequently, they support “H.R. 4923, which reforms the MTB process by leveling the playing field and also adhering to Congress’s recent ban on special interest exemptions.” The Representatives state the “revamped and renewed MTB process will make domestic manufactures more competitive in the international marketplace and help our struggling economy.”

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